Cultural Playing Field


ACEVO Arts, Culture and Heritage Special Interest Group meeting by Robin Simpson
May 16, 2014, 10:42 am
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On Thursday afternoon I took part in a meeting of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations Arts, Culture & Heritage Special Interest Group. Our guest speaker was the Shadow Culture Minister, Helen Goodman MP and we had a very interesting discussion about the role of arts and heritage organisation within the voluntary sector, the part culture can play in the wellbeing agenda, the effect of cuts in local authority funding and the importance of active participation in cultural activities.

Robin Simpson.

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Understanding Everyday Participation by Robin Simpson
March 20, 2014, 6:16 pm
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On Tuesday I was in London for a meeting of the partners in the AHRC Connected Communities Everyday Participation research project. It was very interesting to hear from the researchers who have been conducting the project’s first door-to-door interviews, in Cheetham Hill, Manchester and Broughton in Salford. They have been asking people what they do in their leisure time and the excerpts from the interview transcripts we saw were fascinating. It’s chastening to remind ourselves how far away most people are from ‘the arts’ but it was very encouraging to see how the Voluntary Arts definition of ‘creative cultural activity’ is proving extremely relevant in this study of ‘everyday participation’. The project team have also been re-analysing data from the Taking Part survey to start to create a new segmentation based on statistical methods (hierarchical cluster analysis). This revealed some interesting and surprising patterns of cultural participation.

Robin Simpson.



ACEVO Arts, Culture & Heritage special interest group meeting by Robin Simpson
February 7, 2014, 2:29 pm
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I was in London last Tuesday for a meeting of the ACEVO Arts, Culture & Heritage special interest group. Our guest speaker was Virginia Haworth-Gait, the outgoing Chief Executive of Music Mark, who gave us a presentation about the process of merging two organisations together. Music Mark, the UK association for music education, was created as a merger of the Federation of Music Services and the National Association of Music Educators. Virginia gave us a fascinating insight into the legal and operational journey as well as the human and emotional journey involved in a merger and the particular complications when merging two membership organisations.

Robin Simpson.



Storytelling in Wales by Robin Simpson
June 11, 2013, 2:12 pm
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On Tuesday I was at the University of Glamorgan in Cardiff for the Storytelling in Wales meeting. This is a regular gathering of representatives of organisations including Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, the National Museum of Wales, NIACE and Voluntary Arts Wales, convened and chaired by The George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling. On Tuesday we discussed plans for a ‘Summer of Stories’ in 2014 to raise the profile of storytelling in Wales, with the intention of building towards a ‘Year of Stories’ in 2015 or 2016.

Robin Simpson.



Discussing the National Funding Scheme by Robin Simpson
May 23, 2013, 1:54 pm
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On Wednesday afternoon I met William Makower, founder of the National Funding Scheme which is working to encourage individual giving to arts and heritage organisations across the UK. A new system, called ‘Donate’, which provides a wide range of payment options including mobile apps and near field technology (like that used in Oyster cards) is currently being piloted with eleven cultural institutions. The idea is to encourage and enable people to support organisations through casual gifts at the point at which they experience the artistic or cultural activity – eg while looking at a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. The scheme will be formally launched in November 2013 and will be available to up to 7,000 arts and heritage organisations. William is keen to promote the system to voluntary arts groups and we agreed to develop a Voluntary Arts Briefing to outline the uses and benefits of ‘Donate’ and to explain how groups can register.

Robin Simpson.



ACEVO Arts, Culture & Heritage Special Interest Group by Robin Simpson
October 26, 2012, 3:07 pm
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On Monday I was in London to take part in a meeting of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) Arts, Culture & Heritage Special Interest Group. Our guest speaker was Pauline Tambling, joint Chief Executive of Creative & Cultural Skills. Creative & Cultural Skills is the licensed Sector Skills Council for the UK’s creative and cultural industries, including craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts. Pauline spoke about the challenge of introducing young people to the careers they haven’t heard of and showed us the Creative Choices website (http://www.creative-choices.co.uk/). She also talked about apprenticeships, providing vocational as well as academic routes into the sector. CCSkills also runs the Creative Blueprint website which provides research and analysis for the creative and cultural industries, see: http://creative-blueprint.co.uk/

Robin Simpson.



Storytelling in Wales by Robin Simpson
September 20, 2012, 12:45 pm
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On Wednesday I was at the University of Glamorgan in Cardiff to take part in a meeting about storytelling in Wales. This was the follow-up to the meeting I attended in April 2012 and again brought together a range of organisations involved in different aspects of storytelling. We talked about the idea of developing a Wales storytelling week or similar (and/or encouraging more activity in Wales as part of National Storytelling Week, 2 – 9 February 2013). We also considered the development of the new Learning Centre at St Fagan’s and the role this might play in promoting storytelling in Wales. And we discussed the need for training both to develop more storytellers and to teach the skills needed to elicit stories from others.

Robin Simpson.